Saturday, January 28, 2017

 

Fulbright & the Israel Lobby


On October 7, 1973, the day after Egypt and Syria launched the Yom Kippur War against Israel, J. William Fulbright, chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, appeared on the television program Face the Nation. Fulbright biographer Woods states:
He called for the United Nations to intervene, militarily if necessary, to end the bloodshed and impose a peace settlement. "They should take action, they should meet the legitimate security requirements of Israel — and at the same time approach as closely as possible the principles of the resolution of '67," he told George Herman. Asked by Peter Lisagor if it would not be best if the United States and the Soviet Union simply agreed to stop supplying their client states in the Middle East, Fulbright assented but declared that that would never happen "because the Israelis control the policy in the Congress and the Senate."[1][2]
As if to prove Fulbright's point, the Israel Lobby mobilized to replace him for publicly highlighting their political power: "Following Fulbright's October appearance on Face the Nation ... American Jewish leaders had begun actively soliciting candidates, Democratic or Republican, to oppose their nemesis in the 1974 election ... American Zionists ... pinned their hope on Dale Bumpers."[3]

The Lobby relies on more than mere "hope".
Fulbright's positions on the Middle East have not endeared him to American Zionists who have, according to Fulbright money raisers, declined to contribute "a single dime" to his campaign.

But a Bumpers' lieutenant, whipping his gray Lincoln down Highway. 40, confided to a reporter that he had many offers of donations from American Jews who would like to see the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee unseated.

"I could have bought the central part of Arkansas with it [offers of money from the Jewish community]. But I politely explained that the surest way to beat Bumpers would be to have him tagged a Jewish candidate. But the Jews are obviously very unhappy with Fulbright, starting with Golda Meir."

"The offers of assistance," he said, "came from people in New York and California who have raised a lot of money in the Jewish community for political purposes." He declined to name them.[4]
The Lobby's efforts paid off when Bumpers defeated Fulbright in the 1974 Democratic primary and proceeded to handily win the general election.

Notes
1. Randall Bennett Woods, Fulbright: A Biography (Cambridge UP, 1995), p. 648 citing Face the Nation, Oct. 7, 1973, Series 48:15, Box 41:1, SPF.
2. Smith puts a finer point on Fulbright's remarks, paraphrasing from the transcript, he writes: "Fulbright accused the Israeli lobby of having the ear of up to eighty United States senators, as well as a large percentage of the House of Representatives. Because of the power and influence of the lobby, Israel enjoyed unparalleled and unquestioned American military and economic aid." Mitchell Smith, "Woes of the Arkansas Internationalist: J. William Fulbright, the Middle East, and the Death of American Liberalism" (2013), Theses and Dissertations, 773. p. 61.
3. Woods, p. 659 citing inter alia "Jewish Leaders Seek '74 Opponents for Fulbright, " Arkansas Democrat, Oct. 19, 1973.
4. Harry Kelly, "Arkansas race: Running hard, but Fulbright looks like loser", Chicago Tribune, May 12, 1974, sect. 2, p. 1. See also Woods, p. 661, 665, and Smith, ch. 3.

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Friday, January 27, 2017

 

Trump, the Evancho Sisters, & Transgender People


Many transgender Americans are concerned about how the Trump administration may impact their lives and with good cause. However, a week ago at Donald Trump's inauguration something occurred that may be a harbinger of good (or at least indifference). I'm referring to Trump's choice of singers for the national anthem, that choice was Jackie Evancho.

Jackie has been very publicly supportive of her transgender sister Juliet since at least 2015. So, people in the incoming Trump administration undoubtedly knew what they were doing when they selected an inaugural singer who has a transgender sister involved in a bathroom access lawsuit. And on this choice it seems that the Left has been more intolerant* and dished out more grief to Jackie for agreeing to singing at the event than the Right has. Juliet has been supportive of her sister's decision.

Below is a 2015 "All of the Stars" cover video Jackie made in support of her sister and transgender people, in general. Below that is the explanatory text that appeared on Jackie's web site.


The video is very close to Jackie’s heart as it was inspired by her own personal experience of someone close to her who is going through transitioning and are transgender. It’s a tribute to the bravery and personal journey that people go through as transitioning transgender teens. The video features a girl and a boy, looking into the mirror and confronting images of themselves that are very different from reality. When Jackie looks in the mirror, staring back at her is a beautiful and glamorous version of herself. When the boy gazes into the mirror, a girl stares back…the girl he has always felt like on the inside. “I was inspired to make this video after witnessing personally the struggle that people go through as young transitioning teens. The person they see in the mirror doesn’t match the person they feel inside. And while our struggles are different, I could relate to their insecurities as I have my own issues with self-image…as I think most teens do at one point or another. This video is about empathy, communication and self-appreciation. For me, it has been learning to love myself, flaws and all. For others, it is about being true to the person that they always wanted to be. Everyone wants to feel accepted but I think that starts from within, even if people don’t always agree with your choices. We are all unique stars in the sky and what makes us unique makes us beautiful,” says Jackie.
* "Intolerant" is one of those terms I think functions mainly as an epithet. It is overused and usually inappropriately so. I use it here hesitantly but I think it is apt for a situation such as this where people are telling a 16-year-old entertainer that: "those who aid and abet transphobia like Trump have the blood of our wounded and murdered sisters, brothers and kindred on their hands ... For that reason, there's no way for someone to sing for Trump, stand with him or otherwise support him without some of that blood sticking to them."

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